British Labor Party Suspends Former Leader Following Anti-Semitism Report

Britain’s main opposition Labor Party suspended its former leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday after he appeared to deflect blame from himself after a report found the party was responsible for unlawful harassment and discrimination under his leadership. The British Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched an investigation in May 2019 following persistent complaints of anti-Semitism in the Labor Party under Corbyn’s tenure from 2015 to 2020, which was released Thursday.  In its report, the EHRC said the Labor Party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act — political interference in anti-Semitism complaints; failure to provide proper training to handle the complaints; and harassment. FILE – Protesters hold banners outside the building where Jeremy Corbyn, then-leader of Britain’s opposition Labor Party, attended the launch of Labor’s General Election manifesto, at Birmingham City University, England, Nov. 21, 2019.The report said its analysis indicates “a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it.” In his initial response posted to his Facebook account, Corbyn called anti-Semitism “absolutely abhorrent” and insisted he had sought to make internal changes in the party to eliminate it. He also said he did not accept all the report’s findings. FILE – Two men wearing Orthodox Jewish attire hold placards and leaflets in support of Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn outside the party’s conference in Liverpool, England, Sept. 26, 2018.”One anti-Semite is one too many. But the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media,” he said.  A short time later, a Labor Party spokesman issued a statement: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labor Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation.” The spokesman said Corbyn, who remains a member of Parliament, also will no longer count in the ranks of Labor MPs. From his Twitter account, Corbyn protested his suspension and said he would contest it. In a news conference, current Labor leader Keir Starmer apologized and said Labor was facing a “day of shame.” He promised a new culture. FILE – Britain’s Labor Party leader Keir Starmer speaks during a parliament session, in London, Britain, May 11, 2020.Without naming Corbyn, Starmer appeared to respond to his comments. “Those that deny this is a problem are part of the problem. Those that pretend it’s exaggerated or factional are part of the problem. And under my leadership, we will have zero tolerance of anti-Semitism. Under my leadership, we will accept this report in full,” Starmer said.  

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